Sunday, 21 May 2017

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 3 - Lambing by Chris and Liza

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 1

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 2

Some of these videos may cause inconvenience to some people. I am sorry about that. When we went to a vacation in Wales is the time usually lambing in farms were happening. So farmers often lie awake at night, to help the ewe to deliver the calf. Chris invited us to witness the lambing and we eagerly accepted the invitation. We have never seen that. .

On the one hand, this is important. If my  daughters want to study veterinary science they must have work experience in a farm. I asked Lisa whether they accept students who want the work experience in a farm. Liza said she would. But my daughters  thinking was different. They think farm life is difficult . Chris was working three in the morning, three lambs were born early morning.They have three children, Lisa and Chris work very hard.  I told the children veterinary work is not that hard and they don't need always in farms. But they  are not impressed even though they like the animals and farm itself.


tree house in the corner
අසළින් ගලන   දොළ 
 some scenery near the farmhouse.
















In these videos below you can see how Chris help ewe to deliver the calf. Afterwards he would apply the iodine to the wounds and inject the antibiotics to the calf.

Helping the Ewe 

This is not really an easy task. All over the month there will be several births per day.
minute after the birth



calf with it's  mother 
Mating season of the sheppes usually starts  in Autumn / winter time. gestation time is about 6 months.  So farmers usually know by the Easter ewes are ready give birth to the lambs. In  April grasses start to grow. Grass is the main food source for the sheep. The young lamb are sold for meat whne they are around 8 to 9 months. A Sheep's life span is 10 to 12 years.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Once a thavarish always a thavarish?

Female Cadets in Victory Day parade 9 May 2017 - Courtesy of RT.COM

In my previous letter "Will New Russia is turning back to socialism? Victory Parade of 9th of May" I suggested that Putin may take Russia towards Stalinist dictatorship loosely based on Soviet Socialism. What I wrote at that time was this:

"Is it that Russia is firmly heading back to Soviet system with some sort of a mixed capitalist system like in China. In that case this day will be a memorable one. "

Last year we went to Russia and found THE country is very charming indeed. Despite the western sanctions we did not find any food shortages. At least Mr Putin made sure of that. I was told by my friend who lives in Russia as a permanent resident, that country's meat production went up with other farming products like potato etc after the sanctions.  So is these sanctions really worked? It seems to me it galvanised the Putin's position among Russians more. A true Russian her standing up to the western beast. 

  I always talk to taxi drivers when travelling or rather they talk to me. Our Russian taxi driver has an economic degree and also some other qualifications. He used to work as a lecturer in some far away Uni. Then he worked as a Pizza Chef. He left that job as well and now a taxi driver. He admitted that he is nostalgic about the former Soviet union. 
"I would not have to be worry about my daughter's education back then in Soviet Russia. She would have gone to free school and if she is good in studies  she would have gone to free university. Or she would have been selected to a technical college. Now I have to pay for her studies and everything. " he says.

"Our biggest problem is health care", continued the man  and he lists several problems he had previously and how much he paid for the medicine and doctors. 

"Back then all these were free.  What I earned as a pizza chef was not enough.  Now I am a taxi driver and doing some other small jobs like delivery. Still the money is not enough. We are struggling. Everyone said to us capitalism will bring us this and that we will live like you live in UK or like Americans". He moans.
Kremlin - I took this picture last year

"Well, Moscow is really beautiful. Lot of new buildings. Roads are maintaining quite nicely. People are flocking to restaurants and  stolovaya s (Canteens). All these rich looking shopping centres around. " I say. 

"Yes, it is good for some. There are lot of rich people here in Moscow and for them all Ok. But there are ten times more people are struggling. Putin is only looking after them oligarchs. Not us"  He laments.

"What is your name? Can I write this in my blog. " I asked.
"No Sorry. You will put me in trouble." man declined to reveal his name.
"Really now with all this capitalist democracy". Surely no one will go after a simple taxi driver. 
"you are joking" He says.

Well I was not.  Next time we took a taxi the driver was from Kyrgyzstan. An immigrant. Same story with him plus he has a worry about if and when Russian authorities will ask him to leave or not. He works and send money to his family. There are many like that.  
"That is another country isn't it, yours?"
 I asked. 
" Well we listened to Putin. " he says. "America is far. Putin is near. "
"Sound policy" I said.

I watched intently this year's victory day parade of 9th of May  2017. I love to see parades. I noted  in my article back in 2014 how Commanders and Putin used word  thavarish (Comrade) to address each other. It has very significant political meaning in Russia. When the the "glavno koamanduyushi " I mean Commander in Chief says "comrade soldiers" it is a big thing.

But I found another interesting battalion in this years celebrations. Completely new battalion. This video is from youtube and it was published by RT.

Commentator says this is "yonnaya armia" in Russian. The youth battalion. They didn't have guns. Commentator was mentioning  this is a military patriotic unit and they are representing over 70000 boys and girls  from all across the country. An initiative from defence minister.
Yunnaya arimia or young army (captured picture from video)
Now I am really worried. Is this a just cadet unit or is there any other deep meaning to this group of cadets. This parade is to celebrate victory over Nazi Germany. Hold on a second? Did Hitler had a similar army or not? The Hitler youths.
Hitler Youth
 Why do you need this type of military style youth army? Unless you want to suppress some discontentment among population? Hitler cadets were brainwashed  on patriotism.

 Is President Putin  rebuilding a greater Russia or is he trying to stay in power for another 10 years despite any opposition? I don't think he has any opposition. RT says 2/3rd of Russians wanted Marie Le Pen to win. We are perhaps lucky she didn't. Russian love Le Pen and they have now yunnaya armia. Way to go comrades.

President Vladimir Putin is a really talented person. He said Lenin put a  bomb under Great Mother Russia.  But he never said anything bad about Stalin. I tried to find a Lenin Statue (Small bust) in Moscow's kiosks. I see many of Putin and Stalin but none from Lenin. May be I did not look hard. Putin is proud of Soviet Union's achievement in some ways. Achievement in Space for example. But Mr Putin,  Lenin was the one who created the Soviet Union with the likes of Trotsky. Oh Yes,  Stalin was on the side too.

President Vladimir Putin is a really talented person. RT says he is virtuoso in chief as well.  He plays grand piano in china here.  In 2010 he sang "Blueberry Hill"  to an audience packed with celebrities. Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, Gerard Depardieu were in the crowd. He is a popular guy not only in Russia. He has lot of admirers around the world including China's President Mr Z jinping.

He is very talented indeed.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 2

Holiday home in Beacon Beacon is really beautiful. Apart from the wood burner that gave the heating to the compound we found another interesting feature. A renewable energy source.  A micro turbine housed in a small hut that our landlord Chris described as his pet project. It's a micro hydro power project generating 5 KW when full throttle. 
mini turbine housed in here
Chris found a water source on top of the small hill. It's about 40 m drop to below. He put a large pipe and directed the water stream down to the small turbine unit. 
turbine is below 


power generation unit with Chris

mini generator 



Mini plant

metering
In full throttle unit would generate 5 kW per hour. For 24 hours this would generate 120 KWh of electricity. Chris claims this is enough for his farms  daily needs. Any extra electricity generated would be feed back to the main grid. Specially late night and mid day when they don't use much energy.  Our children were very interested to see this mini hydro power generating unit. 
Water from the turbine unit released to this small stream.
How this works:
I took this explanation from the website quoted below.
"Micro hydro power is the small-scale harnessing of energy from falling water. Hydraulic power can be captured wherever a flow of water falls. The vertical fall of water, known as the “head”, is essential for hydropower generation (fast-flowing water on its own does not contain sufficient energy for useful power production). Hence, two quantities are required for production of hydropower: a Flow Rate of water and a Head. The capacity of a micro hydro power plant is usually between 20 and 500 kW."

Invest in micro hydro power plants


Friday, 28 April 2017

Eco holiday In Brecon Beacon 1

holiday cottage 
Recently we went for a holiday in Wales again. Generally we would go to wales at least once a year. What attract us is the beautiful hillsides,  hikes in valleys and mountains and beautiful waterfalls and yes, the quietness of the surroundings. You don't here buses, cars trains and horns the usual noises from london. It's quiet at night and you can sleep with your window open.  Wales is bit more like upper hill country in Sri Lanka where I am originally from. Most of the landscape seems familiar. This time round we stayed in a converted barn in a farm called "The Beast barn" in Brecon Beacon. It's owned by farmer Chris and his wife Liz.

What we have noticed first was how beautiful and clean was converted barn - cottage we stayed in.
the kichen 

living room
There was a small wood burner to provide the heat to reception room. But house was rather warm and cosy. There was no need to fire it.
beautiful wood burner

House was quiet warm. Then we saw the big wood burner in the outside shed. The wooden oven produce the necessary heat and the hot water for the cottages and to the farmer's house. There is a water jacket around the burner. The water carries the heat from the burner and the same heat used to make water tanks hot as well. 
Chris the farmer with his wood burner

small but enough to heat 3 houses

heat exchanger
the heat exchanger used to heat the water that flow through the pipes. Chris collect the debris and wood from his own farm. It's a quite large farm.
This link explains how the heat exchangers work.
Wood and other debris for the burner


This is the first part of a series of articles I will be writing  about this holiday. 


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Trump have to be rescued from own establishment he represents

I am completely perplexed by the current news items. For example in "the Independent" article points to " CIA boss John Brennan says Donald Trump "doesn't understand Russia". According to the writer it's a scathing attack on President-Elect. Well, it's all about that infamous Trump-Dossier.

Next news item is MI6 chief used Trump dossier details in key speech on Russia. Mind you both are intelligence agencies.  One is from US itself and other one is United Kingdom who for years and years had "that special relationship" with US.

Now, it seems to me that they are afraid of one thing. That one single  interesting fact that comes up always. it is like when you throw a tennis ball deep down into a pond. It comes up always. The so called relationship with Putin and Trump.

What kind of relationship is that?  I don't really think anyone know about that yet.  Outgoing Obama administration deported some Russian diplomats accusing them of hacking democratic contenders emails, changing public opinion against Clinton and also changing outcome of the US presidential election. Pretty crazy ha?

What's worrying for me is this? Exxonmobil's contract with Russia.  Russia has vast oil reserve in Siberia, Arctic and Black sea They have a contract with Russia's biggest oil company Rosneft for over $1 billion. Russia today reported that much in February 2015.  However, European Union and United States (That is Obama-Clinton Administration) imposed sanctions relating to the Energy Sector. Sanctions over Russian invasion of  Crimea, Interference of Syria or whatever But for Energy Sector?  The biggest assets of western world, Middle East and Russia is oil. Are you carazii?  (Or crazy for that matter) Wars happened for energy resources and money.

Rosneft and Exxonmobil connection go as far as 2013, 2014 when they did joint projects.  Does anyone want to let go of a $ 1 Billion deal and future oil revenue for that matter? See then Donald Trump enters the stage. If the Russian wants to change the outcome of  American presidential elections this is their chance. Obama is already somewhat unpopular in US and in the world over Syria. Russia and Putin backed the correct horse.  Well their horse won. And there is this hacking scandal. Do you beleive it? Why not I may say.

And who is the future secretary of State, I may ask? Rex Tillerson.  Well who is that? He dealt with Russia and Puting on behalf of  of ExxsonMobil.  First thing I would say that President Elect Trump will do is to  lift sanctions against  Russia. And then Rosneft and ExxsonMobil contract's  will be back on track.

Now there is no problem except Donald Trump is saying CIA mislead him about Russian Hacking scandal.  Security chiefs are criticising him and  He criticize them. What I am saying is this is dangerous.

We want free world to be free world. We want president of united States of America to be in safe hands. American's voted for him. Although he lost the popular votes he won by the electoral system. We can't argue with that.  Yeah, its is strange that he won with that low margin. Hey, Remember "Forest Gump"- "Shit happens." Anyway I can't see that he is that bad.

Although I can't see he is going to be president for a long time either. I kind of see some sort of an impeachment process hanging above him. It seems to me  part of the American (and British for that matter) establishment is dead against him . I wonder where the people stand in here. On Which side? Mr Trump's future will depend on that.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Brexit plus plus means that both the US and the UK have FASCIST governments

I actually copied this from a comment to an article published in "The Independent" news paper.
It's written very thoroughly and I thought I should post it here.

Brexit plus plus means that both the US and the UK have FASCIST governments.

 Centre ground is dead in the US and the UK because they both have ANTI-DEMOCRATIC election systems which lead to two strong political parties in constant conflict and total confrontation. 

 In other European countries (apart form the UK), coalition governments are the norm and the election systems have at least some proportional elements. So the political discourse is based on consensus and searching for a compromise. 

 A proportional system with coalition governments creates a lot of space for establishment of new political parties and splintering of existing parties as political opinions diversify and the circumstances and values in the society change. New parties have a chance of making it to the parliament and even to the coalition government. 

 On the other hand, the anti-democratic two-party system in the US and the UK leads to vicious counter-productive in-fighting in the two dominant political parties (see Trump vs other Republicans, Clinton vs Sanders, and the total in-fighting in Conservatives and Labour). Any splintering would make the splintered new party in effect unelectable. Moreover, these anti-democratic systems leave the two major parties open to be HIJACKED by extremists, which is why now both the US and the UK have fascist governments. 

 In both the US and the UK, the people are very badly educated about the basic principles of democracy and in particular about how democratic systems in OTHER countries work (in the UK also about how the EU works). They are brainwashed into believing that the system in their country is the best and the most democratic. 

 In both the US and the UK, it is allowed to pour absolutely huge amounts of private money into political parties and political campaigns, thus making the system of political elites deeply inherently corrupt. The politicians are sold to their financial donors. 

 Both the US and the UK have serious problems with their brainwashing media (owned by powerful individuals) spouting aggressive lying propaganda day in, day out. It is easy for extremist demagogues to con badly educated brainwashed people via lying divisive rhetoric, spreading of hatred and promising a land of milk and honey to vote for their political agenda, where the extremists are only interested in grabbing more power to themselves and do not care about the people. 

 It is shocking to see how easily the poorest and most vulnerable people are conned into voting against their obvious interests: the people in the US vote against public medical care (because they have been brainwashed into believing that public healthcare is an evil communist thing) and the people in the UK against the EU (because they have been brainwashed into believing that the EU is an evil dictatorship to be blamed for everything). 

In both cases, people are blissfully ignorant, hence easily manipulated. In both the US and the UK, people have delusions of grandeur of own nation due to toxic political rhetoric, with slogans about the US/UK being the greatest nations in the world (when they are in reality by far the most dangerous countries in the world in the last decades with undemocratic political systems). 

 Democracy is not a static state. It is a long-term PROCESS. Democracy has nothing to do with politicians. Democracy resides with active, well-educated, critical, well-informed and well-organised PEOPLE. Both the US and the UK have very rigid ARCHAIC systems, with huge powers of political elites. The UK does not even have a written constitution. And the US has a written constitution which the Americans are brainwashed into regarding as some untouchable holy scripture. Both the US and the UK do also not even have a proper separation of powers (legislative - parliament, executive - government and judiciary – courts), which is the basis of modern democratic systems. They both also have the UNdemocratic archaic requirement for the voters having to register themselves (whereas in European countries the voting right is regarded as an AUTOMATIC unalienable democratic right). 

All other European countries have similar democratic systems based on written constitutions and shared modern European democratic principles. These shared democratic principles were established and are maintained and gradually improved via cross-border exchange of ideas, initiatives and experiences with different elements of democracy at all levels (from constitutional law experts to ordinary people). The democratic systems in European countries change gradually as the circumstances, the values and the needs of the people change. Unlike the US, European countries gradually change / modernise their written constitutions too. We all regard democracy as work in progress (and this of course also includes the EU – we need to work together to gradually make it even better). Both the US and the UK have HUGE democratic deficits. They do not even have democratic systems in any modern sense of the word!

By Ajda Slovenia 

original Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-presidential-election-centre-ground-theresa-may-brexit-a7406786.html

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Realism Art exhibition - Hermitage Museum - St. Petersburg

Hermitage museum was founded by Catherine the Great of Russian Empire in 1764. It is one of the oldest museums in the world. It was opened to the public view by Tsars since 1852. After the revolution Soviet Authorities were careful to preserve over 3 million artefacts.

During the second world war Hermitage Museum was hit by German bombs. The main building was damaged heavily. During the  blockade by the Germans most valued artefacts were removed to different safe places.   After the war Hermitage building was restored to the former glory.

We went to Hermitage museum  to see creations  of famous artists like Picasso, Monet etc. I will post those pictures in my next blog post. What we unexpectedly visited was the exhibition called "Realism" showed in General Staff Building.

I remember during the time of the  soviet union everyone talked about Socialist Realism in art. However most of the socialist artworks, films ended up singing hosannas to socialist system of governance and to Soviet communist party. Heavy debate raged in countries with socialist traditions to follow such a rigid worldview. Therefore it was quite interesting see such a theme again in Russia.

This is  the part of the introduction:

"Why is realism such a relevant topic today? The realisms Project at the hermitage is an attempt to answer that question. The project is based on a multilateral conversation about the form and idealogy of realism, which encompasses the entire permanent display in the General Staff Building, where the collection of nineteenth to twenty-first-century art is housed since 2015.

Rich in terminology, the twentieth century knew many "Realisms": Hyper-, Sur-,Photo-,Social, magical Realism and many more. Since the end of the century, the realistic trend has been making itself felt and arousing greater interest. the original foundation of the realist approach - the search for reality - is a simple creative method which is aimed at self-knowledge. From a narrative art in the Old master's paintings, realism today has developed into a technically and psychologically complex system of references which deals with a subjectivist view of the objective world.

Perceptions of reality change and depend on the current personal and social priorities. Now this has become relevant once again. Art absorbs such changes and produces a different image of reality every time. the works of contemporary artists represented at the exhibition offer their own references. Each of them, nevertheless, is a clear blueprint of existential experience of the time, with a potential for metaphors, allusions, codes, symbolic meanings and cultural associations.

The Hyperrealist sculpture F*ck'd(Couple) (Gary Tatinstian Collection , USA) by the American artist Tony Matelli uses a technically innovative method to imitate the visceral poignancy and touching nature of the sensual reality."


The other two artists contributing the exhibition are American Artist Jim Shaw and British Painter Mitch Griffiths. British artist's works are closest to the paradigm of classic realism.
21st century boy by Mitch Griffiths


A work featured in one of Griffiths' earliest solo exhibitions, this sharply satirical piece explores how modern society worships wealth, status and fame. The crown of credit cards may symbolise the narcissistic pseudo-values which dominate in today's society of mock kings and false idols.

Gorgon - Mitch Griffiths

A direct reference to Caravaggio's painting of Medusa, the Gorgon queen who, according to Greek mythology petrified those who gazed upon her. However, Griffith's Gorgon is so saturated with oil that her eyes are sealed shut and her power curbed, calling into question the human cost of commercial and industrial interests and demonization of those who stand in the way of industrial 'progress'



"There have always been two schools of thought in painting: That of the idealists and that of Realists. "-Theophile Gautier

Weight of Panic - Mitch Griffiths
They Love me, They Love me Not - Mitch Griffiths United Kingdom

Picture above and below questions the body worship through exercise regimes and obsession with weight.  Next picture shows a man obsessed with his body and women with her face while woman standing next to her lost one of her breast from cancer.
Drone - Mitch Griffiths
"Exploring the commercialisation and glamorisation of armed warfare in certain media outlets which borrow their imagery from computer games, the very title of this work is direct reference to a particular type of pilotless aircraft or missile.  It represents the contemporary disconnect between the zombified viewer and the real horrors of war. The sexualised female soldier and the smartphone tied to her gun underscores the unreal nature of this image. "

Bridge of Genes - Mitch Griffiths
"This painting communicates the historical ties between fathers and sons. A reference to the popular trope in renaissance painting wherein each figure clasps the tools of their trade, falling leaves appear to capture the passing of time through generations, both dividing and bringing together the parent and child."
Triptych First Person Shooter - Call of Duty -  Mitch Griffiths

Modern Warfare - Mitch Griffiths

Finest Hour - Mitch Griffiths 
"The title of this Triptych alludes to a type of video game in which a shooter must move towards their goal by killing everyone in their way.  The artist depicts a British Soldier who is displayed to take part in international conflict and where  every day faces moral choice between following his duty and committing a crime."

The things they carried - Mitch Griffiths - Amid a backdrop of smoke and destruction, a soldier is hauling away a young refugee women who has been forced to flee her homeland. Perhaps a reference to the contemporary devastation of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, this work evokes the tragic fate of displacement as well as the image of a 'savior of culture' and his inevitable historical role.

"Thouh the objects themselves may be painful to see, we delight to view the most realistic representations of them in art - the forms, for example, of the lowest animals of dead bodies. The explanation is to be found in a further fact: to be learning something is the greatest of pleasures, not only to the philosopher, but also to the rest of the humanity, however small our capacity for it. The reason of the delight in seeing the picture is that one is at the same time learning - gathering the meaning of things.".- .Aristotle
Closet - Ilya and Emiliya Kabakov
Complete exhibition is in my facebook page and in Google+. If you copy please make sure you mention artist's names and place of the exhibition.


Links to the exhibition information 
About Mitch Griffin

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The last one standing


We were in St Petersburg last week. iT's amazing. We met this Russian lady called  Irina who showed us where our apartment is. Allowed to use her mobile and also accompanied us to the apartment. We just asked her help us to find the place. That's all. We did not know her before.
We realised people in St petersburg is amazingly kind and helpful. Wow . This is not I was reading in media in England. Certainly did not expect that.
Ah well, when we called Irina next day she came over and showed us Aleksandrovsky Summer Garden  and Mikhailovsky palace. 






I wanted to see any Lenin statues survived or not. I heard one is in Ploshad Ilicha i.e Ilicha Square. Ilich is Lenin's second name.  So I went there and found the Lenin's statue. he is alone standing proud, looking at river Neva. All his revolutionary friends statues were removed long ago.

When I went to several churches rebuilt by Russians after 1991 I found Romanov's burial sites. Romanovs are the last rulers from Russian Empire. Bolsheviks killed them.  They could have spared their lives and deport them to another country perhaps. Now they have own shrines in Russia. Russian aristocracy used church burial grounds and even inside the churches to bury their loved ones.  Vladimir Putin is killing 2 birds from one stone. Royalist are happy that he allowed Royalists,Dukes, Lords and ladies to have their burial grounds and pompous lifestyle returned to them.  Communists are happy that Putin allowed to remain Lenin statues and other communist memorabilia.  Religiosniks are happy that he allowed to rebuilt all the churches destroyed during the socialist era.  They are at each other's throats but Puting is their friend. Machiavellian politics of Putin is wining the day.